("The Study of Truth")
It was cold but the cold was refreshing to Conner's inflamed skin. It was always like this when he made a crossover while in a heavily glamoured human form.
He was not actually human. But for the sake of the argument, he was now. Plus, Garrett, his elder brother, was always saying things like 'immersion fosters the ability to live like one you were immersed around' or something like that.
Garrett always said things like that. Evangeline would comment (well, if she was currently alive, anyway) something along the lines of 'dammit, pay attention, Conner!'.
Someone was almost always chiding him for his severely limited attention span.
Let's just say that he made a toddler human with severe ADHD look focused.
Conner knew why they did it though. He didn't necessarily like it, but he could understand why it was necessary. It was because they wanted him to actually notice his surroundings and discreetly make his way through them.
It helped when he was in his current form, his currently annoyingly human form. He liked how it was easier to enjoy the present and the world around him, but alas... he did not like how weak it made him, or how boring he thought it made him.
But whatever. It's not like he wasn't the one to decide to live as mortal for a while.
Garrett had been the one to suggest it, but ultimately it had been Conner's decision.
But, anyway, currently he had made his way into an office.
By the mortals dressed around him, he could guess that it was sometime in the late nineteen thirties or early nineteen forties. A woman had greeted him at the main desk and gave him papers to sign.
He didn't have an identity here, nor any birth records that gave him one. All he had was his name, which had started out completely different and in his native tongue, but which he had changed some time ago to make it easier for mortals to pronounce.
Barely any of his siblings had kept their original names.
The woman had smiled brightly at him and had seemed somewhat concerned with how red his skin looked at the moment. He had smiled back and made an excuse about a sunburn or something like that. She had nodded and accepted his excuse- but then again, it was really the only reasonable thing he could respond with.
' "Just sign these papers and we'll call you up when they're ready for you!" she smiled and he had nodded and taken a seat in the crowded waiting room.
No one had even blinked at him when he sat down.
His glamour must be good, he concluded. That was good, since he had never held a glamour this long before. It had been almost a century since he donned it.
The linoleum tiles sparkled beneath his booted feet. A shadowy reflection showed a man of reasonable height with a average body type.
He was dressed strangely for this time, but none of the people around him took notice, too immersed with anxiety, nerves, or their own daydreams. Conner was dressed in a worn pair of jeans and a plain cotton t-shirt, not many people were dressed like he was in the office, with maybe one other man wearing denim.
Most of the people around him were men, maybe two women in the waiting room beside the woman who had greeted him at the front desk. They were dressed smartly, plain clothes for the most part that had probably at least once been mended- but that was probably just a part of the times.
He filled out the paperwork quickly, reading the terms and answering the questionnaire as honestly as he could. Place of residence? He answered vaguely, rattling off one of his cousins houses that she kept in the area. Age? He figured he looked to be about twenty two or three. Date of Birth? He laughed.
He was old-older than most worlds anyway and when you were that old, let's just say you didn't celebrate all your birthdays.
He had been born in spring he thought. He rattled off the date of equinox, March twentieth give or take a day.
A few minutes later his name was called and he handed the clipboard back to the woman at the front and she guided him into another room, a doctor's office where he would get a 'check-up'. Conner snickered to himself while he waited again. The odds he would be too 'sick' to sign up would be very low to say the least.
He couldn't even remember the last time he got sick.
After making so many crossovers into so many different worlds and time periods he had managed to develop an immunity to almost everything.
Including most forms of plague. Looking at you, Black Death!
The only illnesses he could actually pick up were witch-born ones, but those were few and far between, what with the tendencies to lead to witch hunts. Nasty little things those plagues were.
But he hadn't managed to catch one of those in at least a thousand or so years.
The door to the room slid open and a man in a white lab coat made his way in.
He was human (not that it was surprising) and was somewhere in his early thirties. His hair was light brown and cut short while his eyes were a dark mossy green.
Dr. Thomas Greene his nametag read.
Dr. Greene was pale, like he had never visited, certainly not lived, near the equator. He kept clicking his pen, about eleven times per minute. He made 'mhmm' sounds as he read over Conner's papers, flipping through them several times before he even looked directly up at Conner.
He frowned when he looked at him, his brows furrowing.
"You're Conner Hadrian Durard? Do you know Sara Durard, then? She came in earlier today with her son."
Conner nodded, "She's a cousin."
Who he hadn't seen or talked to for at least sixty years, but that was normal.
Dr. Greene nodded and went back to skimming the papers.
A couple minutes later he looked up and scanned him again and nodded.
"Alright, can you list any previous illnesses?"
He hadn't the faintest clue what illnesses were a thing in this world.
"Uh, this year's flu?"
Dr. Greene narrowed his eyes on Conner like Evangeline did when she caught him not paying attention. For a second Conner thought that he would call him on his clear lie, maybe even confess that he knew that Conner was immortal. He kinda wished the doctor would, it would be a hell of alot easier if he did.
The doctor looked back down and went back to making 'mhmm' sounds.
When all was said and done, he ended up doing a physical on Conner, unnerving the immortal with his constant poking and prodding. Within twenty minutes they were done and the doctor had given his stamp of approval and pushed him further along the line to recruitment which seeing as how the country was at war (or so he had been told after one awkward conversation later) he had been accepted quickly and quietly.
In his defence, not every world had been subject to World War Two, just most of them.
See, there were certain events that were almost always written deeply into the fabric of existence, and World War Two was one of them along with the Hundred Years War or the French Revolution or for some odd reason, the Great Emu War.
(He had never managed to figure the latter out, though.)
But back to the subject, events like those were repeated countlessly in countless worlds, leading most of the humanities across existence to a remarkably similar path. Of course, some of the players changed depending on how prior events had played out.
For example if Napoleon had actually managed to conquer Russia, or later, if Hitler had managed to conquer the Soviet Union or if the Soviet Union had replaced Germany in WW2 on the Axis team. Changes like those had of way of sending out repercussions.
And he had no idea just where he had landed on the 'Oh shit what's happening? Where am I?' meter. Probably high up, he supposed.
He ghosted through the rest of the line, lost in thought and absently muttering to himself (garnering quite a few strange looks when people did notice him if at all). He was given a uniform that would fit him while he was under a glamour (but would certainly not when he went without it). He ended up back in a line for... hell, something.
A man was standing in front of him. He was around six feet two inches tall and smelled distinctly human. His auburn brown hair was cut close to his head on the sides but the top fell in a wave from his side part. He was stiff and his breathing was harsh, nervous.
"Something troubling you?" Conner spoke up and the man turned around slightly to lean against the wall as he made eye contact with the still red immortal.
The human was quite attractive, nowhere near Conner's kind and their kind of beauty, but Conner could see how the man would attract others of his kind. His eyes were odd, heterochromatic with his right eye being a dark chocolate brown and his left being a pacific blue. He was frowning slightly but relaxed as he let out a slight chuckle.
"The country is at war, I believe I have reason to be troubled."
Conner laughed and the man quirked a brow, "Yes, but that's not what's bothering you."
The man looked surprised, "You're American? What are you doing signing up in England?"
Conner smiled, "Would you believe I took a wrong turn and signed up for the hell of it?"
The man scanned him and looked into his eyes silently for a moment, "Looking at you, yeah, I'd believe it."
"You don't sound English either," Conner pointed out and the man smiled lightly.
"Ex-pat. Moved here with my parents when I was twelve. Been here for about eleven years now. How's it going stateside?"
Conner let out a nervous bleat, "Hell if I know. What year is this?"
The man laughed like he thought it was a good joke. "It's 1939. What'd you do? Take a nasty hit to the head? Or maybe... stay out in the sun too long? Though I must confess, I've never seen a sunburn that bad, especially not in England."
Conner chuckled, "Well my head does hurt and so does my skin, so I guess either/and."
The line moved up and the man slid along the wall a few feet. Conner followed.
"I'm Conner." Conner held out his hand and the man took it to shake.
"Adam. You have quite the grip." Conner relaxed his hand and released him, a slight blush lighting up his cheeks, lighting up his inflamed skin once more.
Adam laughed and Conner blushed a deeper red, "Sorry."
Adam smiled, "Nothing to apologize for, just didn't expect it."
Conner relaxed and they made light talk as they slid through the line and the following checkpoint.
They took their papers and headed back into the waiting room where an older man met them.
"Adam, you know your mother is going to be furious with you, right?"
Adam nodded at the greying man, "Yes, Uncle. But she has her hands full with the twins so I think I'm safe for the time being."
The man trailed light brown eyes over Conner, "Who is this?"
Conner held his hand out, "Conner Durard, pleasure to meet you..."
The man nodded but didn't take his hand, "Charles Brandt, I'm Adam's uncle."
Conner nodded and Adam grinned, "Feel like a drink, either of you?"
Charles shook his head and Conner checked his wallet, which was not a wallet but a leather drawstring coin purse that he had been using for three centuries. Charles looked at him oddly then at his nephew and shook his head and silently left the two of them.
Conner looked up and Adam laughed, "You're a little odd but I like you. Come on, I'll pay."
Conner grinned, "Fine with me, I'm pretty sure all that I have is foreign currency anyway."
Specifically, Blackslate coins that were only used among the Allied Family. He'd have to make a trip to a market hole. The tricky part would be locating the entrance. Hopefully there was one nearby, he'd have to ask Sara.
"So what do you do for work?" Adam asked as they made their way down streets to the nearest bar.
"I'm nomadic, I've picked up skills to do just about anything, but none of it certified. All off the books sort of stuff." Conner revealed and Adam narrowed his eyes on him with a slight grin.
"So I take it you travel a lot?"
"Yup. It's pretty much all I do."
Adam chuckled, "You're meant for the military then. That was all my father could talk about when he came home from the last war. Much to my mother's discontent."
Conner laughed and they were silent as they walked at an amiable pace to the pub Adam suggested.
They stopped about ten minutes later at a homey looking building that seemed left over from the sixteenth century. How it had managed to survive time, Conner had no clue. Buildings weren't exactly built to last then. A sign hung apathetically from a post over the door.
The Bar of Bath
Was that a play on Chaucer? He was grateful it wasn't Shakespeare at least.
It was quiet and the atmosphere was cozy as they walked inside, pleasant smells trailing in from the back where the kitchens resided. Conner's nose itched as a sudden sharp scent bit at him annoyingly. The barman looked up and narrowed his eyes on the glamoured immortal.
"Is that you, Conner? You wouldn't happen to be travelling with Evangeline would you? I still owe her eight goats and I'd rather not have to attempt to convert that shit and account for inflation."
Conner laughed at the expression on Adam's face.
"Evangeline isn't with me, no. I haven't see your ugly mug in... wow it's been a long time, Xander."
The glamoured demon smirked then glanced at Adam.
"Adam! How rude of me, what'll you have?"
"Whatever's potent enough to help me make sense of this."
Xander narrowed his eyes on Conner and slipped into infliniterian, the universal tongue of the homelands. The guttural somewhat lilting language drew wide eyes from Adam, oblivious to the actual meaning.
"Did you tell him about us? Your sister will not be happy with you."
Conner shook his head and replied back in english.
Xander nodded and handed Adam a strange concoction which the human took like a shot, grimacing at the taste.
Conner sat down beside Adam at the bar. He looked at Xander, seeing through his light glamour.
There were a few types of glamour, the low energy overlay which Xander wore, a glamour that dulled down one's true image and masked it with another more mundane one, and Conner's, which actually transformed the bearer in some sense, dulling down natural instincts and abilities. The latter was more difficult to maintain, but could easily go unnoticed even by the most clear sighted of mortals.
Xander had probably scared some poor mortals shitless.
Conner looked at Adam, "What do you see when you look at Xander?"
Xander frowned at the other immortal.
Adam, feeling the effects of the miscellaneous cocktail, blinked hazily for a moment then looked at Xander.
He blushed, "Uh..."
Xander's frown deepened at Conner then looked at Adam with a sigh.
"He's uh..." Adam blinked, at a loss for words. Conner laughed and patted him on the back.
"Nevermind. Just for a check, how drunk should I let you get?"
"I'm already halfway there."
Conner nodded and Xander placed down a shot that could knock out an elephant in front of the immortal which Adam looked like he was going to steal if he wasn't quick enough. Conner seized it quickly and downed it easily, holding it out to Xander to be refilled. He'd need several more to actually feel the effects in any way. As it was, he was glad it had a pleasant melon taste.
Xander handed Adam a human sized dose of a shot which the mortal downed quickly. Xander grinned, "Conner, look's like someone wants to have a drinking contest."
Conner grinned, "We shouldn't."
"Fuck yes, we should!" Adam cheered in a whisper-yell.
Adam blinked hazily for a few seconds, "What was in that thing you gave me? God, whatever it was, it was strong."
Conner frowned at Xander to which the demon slipped back into their native tongue to respond.
"A little witch's truth brew. Grade max twelve. He might be... a little loose for the next few hours."
Conner chuckled, "Just water it down for him for now on."
Xander nodded and held his hands up in a surrendering motion.
"I don't even know how he found my place. He must be somewhat clear-sighted. He never looks directly at me for the most part so he's been fine. As it is, he usually doesn't make eye contact til he's already drunk. He's a lot of fun, I'm just warning you."
Conner nodded and held out his hand, which Xander handed over the whole bottle he had been pouring Conner's shots from.
The immortal drank from it casually as the three of them made light chatter and Xander began to water down Adam's drinks right as the first ones began to really kick in. Conner's own drinks were nowhere near enough so he had the demon barkeep give him the harder stuff as Adam began to explain his whole life to the two immortals.
"My sister hates my guts- my older one I mean. I think it's been that way since she met me to be honest, I think I just rub her the wrong way. My younger one loves me- I think she idolizes me more than our little brother does and that's saying a lot considering how he used to try to go to school with me when he was a toddler. He was a smart little bugger too, wasn't even afraid of anybody else, would just stick to side streets and follow me to school. Scared the ever loving shit out of my mother, let me tell you. Karen, my younger sister, was pissed that every time she tried to come along Mother would catch her. Do you know how many times I had to cut class to bring his ass back home-too many times, let me tell you."
"What about you two, you two have any siblings?"
Conner and Xander burst into laughter.
Yeah, they had siblings. A ridiculous amount of them and at least hundreds of nieces and nephews- and that's only since they started to be able to procreate outside of the Family. But trying to explain that to mortals was awful. Technically, they didn't have blood the way that mortals did, nor the DNA that gave humans the codes that made them who they were and all that. No, it was simple magic that gave them life- make that raw power, specifically the Ancient's raw power.
So while they had an immense number of siblings, none of them were technically related outside of the fact that they came from the same beings. It was weird and trying to explain to mortals was a pain in the ass to say the least so for the most part they kept the information regulated to the actual members of the Family and their mates.
"What? You two don't have siblings?"
"No," Xander chortled, wiping a tear from his eye, "Let's just say the Family is quite large."
Adam didn't pick up on the capitalization, but no one expected him to.
"My closest brother's name is Garrett. We look practically identical except for the hair and eye color. Can't go anywhere without somebody mentioning it." Conner stated wistfully.
"Evangeline is his on and off again girlfriend, so she's practically Family-"technically she was Family too, one of the daughters of Hecate, so in lay-terms, a cousin of sorts "-she's more like an older sister to me though, and she certainly nags like a concerned older sibling too. Garrett's in love with her, but the problem is that he's also in love with this beauty named Clara. Evangeline knows he is too, so she always steps aside when Garrett goes back to her. I mean, it must hurt to do that, but she keeps doing it so I guess she's just a sucker for pain at this point."
Conner thought about his eldest sister, Juliet.
She was the reigning monarch of Darla's side of the Family, and also her adopted father, Dante's as well. She was the eldest child of the Ancients, even out of all of the hundreds, if not thousands of them.
"Then there's Juliet," Conner regaled, "She my eldest sister, she puts up with everyone's shit in the Family and somehow makes it all better. I don't know how she does it, but she does it, sure enough. The Family would go to shit without it."
Adam nodded and looked at Xander. The demon let out a drawn out sigh.
"Nope, I got nothing. I haven't even spoken to my family in over a decade."
Adam narrowed his eyes on the demon, blinking fast like he thought that would make his features easier to make out.
"How old are you, Xander? I mean, I can never tell. I can barely tell what you look like most the time." Adam muttered and Conner clapped him on the shoulder.
"Anyway..." Conner drolled, "What made you sign up to join the fight?"
Adam looked at him blankly, "It's what my father would have wanted me to do, if he was still alive. Uncle will always take care of my mother, so I don't have to worry about what I'm leaving behind as long as the war is not brought too close to home."
"I know you said you signed up for the hell of it, but what was the real reason?" Adam asked and Conner gave a small smile.
"Me? I've never been one to sit on the sidelines as much as my Family would want. They threatened me the last time I did something like this. 'Conner! We're not allowed to interfere! There's always a price to pay!' and things like that."
Xander snorted, "You should listen to your siblings. There is always a price. Just because you haven't been the one to pay doesn't mean you inevitably won't."
Conner frowned and Adam clapped him on the back this time, "I'd probably risk it to, if I were you. My father would always get on my about doing shit like that too when I was younger. Never did learn anything though. So if you're going down, so am I."
Conner smirked, "At least it'll be fun."
"And there it is, folks!" Xander cried, "We have come across the real reason, he's looking for entertainment! What happened, got tired of whoring around, Conner?"
Conner chuckled, "Nope, besides lots of sexual frustration makes people more willing to get down and dirty."
Adam and Xander shook their heads.
"I pity the men who get stuck with you, whore."
Conner looked appalled, "Me, a whore? Never. Not without getting paid first at least."
Adam looked aghast.
"Joking," Conner teased, "Besides, all I require is to be bought a drink first."
He cocked his eyebrows at the human and Adam choked on his drink.
Conner and Xander burst into laughter.
"Don't worry," Xander chuckled, "Tonight's is on the house."
That didn't stop Xander from making an obscene gesture with his mouth and right hand for a moment, making the human blush like crazy under the gas lighting.
Conner chuckled to himself, he liked how the human suddenly got shier around him.
He knew it was not the time period for it, but hell if he was willing...
Conner downed the rest of the bottle, pleased as he began to feel it hit him, warming his body and creating a pleasant buzz. It took a few minutes for the human to get back to looking him in the eye and Conner blinked when Adam suddenly looked wide-eyed. Conner looked at Xander but the demon wasn't paying attention, wiping down the bar.
Adam blinked, "You look different. Taller and everything."
Shit. Shit. Shit.
He'd have to take off his glamour to replace it with a new one.
He glanced at himself in the mirror behind the bar. His skin had lost the red tint, back to the color of milk while his hair was darkening and becoming redder by the moment. His eyes were flickering from a dark green to baby blue and he knew it was only a matter of minutes before it all evaporated away.
He looked at Xander and the demon looked up, frowning at him.
Conner turned to Adam, "Do me a favor?"
Adam swallowed and nodded, still scanning him, seemingly fascinated by his changing features and coloring.
Conner swallowed, "How drunk are you, right now?"
"Oh, I'd say I'm quickly sobering."
He looked like it, too.
"Okay, Adam. I need you to uh, not freak out. Can you do that?"
"Conner, no." Xander interceded.
Conner glanced at him, "He's cool. I'll take him to Sara's tomorrow and we'll sort everything out. Wipe him if we have to, but for right now....I'm willing to take a leap of faith."
Xander glared at him, "If you have to, kill him. Exposure is not a good thing in this current time period."
He turned back to Adam, "Okay, I need you to close your eyes. Just staring at me while it happens is going to be hell on your eyes and your mind. I'll tell you when to open them."
Adam's breathing was harsh and he was on the verge of a full blown panic attack. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down, but Conner could tell it wasn't really working.
He made short work of dropping the glamour, his head beginning to pulse in mild pain. His teeth clenched and he let out a small grunt of discomfort as his body transformed back into its true form.
He was taller, closer to seven feet than he was to six. He blinked sharply as his eyes flickered back to their true shade, burning ever-so-slightly.
It was kind of relieving. He swore that he'd stick to the lesser level glamour, at least for the time being. He had his papers from the office so he knew roughly what he had looked like. Luckily, his actual facial features had only shifted minimally.
He blew out a breath, "Okay, open your eyes."666Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJaeWvckZhL
Adam opened them slowly, scanning him up from the floor.
He looked wide eyed at him, "Oh my god."
"You vampires, look what you get yourselves into." Xander shook his head and Adam looked to him.
"Are you- are you one too?" He stuttered and Xander snorted.
"No, I'm no vamp. But the less you know the better."
Adam looked back at Conner, looking up to meet his eyes, "Oh, wow."
Conner grinned nervously, swaying from side to side as his strength began to kick back into full gear. He began to tap the bar repetitively, his superior speed already making it uncomfortable for him to stay in one place for too long.
Adam kept blinking at him, as if he didn't believe his eyes.
Conner wouldn't if he were him.
It was all kind of unbelievable, but he had at least been born into it. It was probably stretching Adam's mind out to say the least.
"Uh... okay, I'm not freaking out. But uh, wow."
Conner forced himself to nod slowly as his body grew back into his natural restlessness.
He'd forgotten how annoying it was.
Adam blinked, his panic attack dying down.
"So you're uh..."
"A vampire, yes."
"Unbelievable?" Conner supplied and Adam nodded.
Xander handed the mortal a bottle of what looked like whiskey, thankfully mortal dosaged. Adam gripped the bottle tight and took a swig. He looked like he was trying to think of something to say but every time he seemed to be back to surprised and so tried to compensate by guzzling down the bottle.
"So you... drink blood?"
Conner laughed, "I'm old enough that I can go a while without drinking if I want. At this point it's more of a habit of pleasure than actual need. I personally eat human food and drink. Not all of my kind do, but most of us find that human food stuffs taste good too."
Adam nodded and looked away until Conner's constant shifting drew his attention.
"What are you doing?"
Conner let out a bleat of anxious laughter, "I am... readjusting to my true form. I can run... um, really fast. I'm the fastest of all of us, it's kinda my thing."
Adam nodded and took another swig.
"So you're not going to eat me?"
"No, not unless you want me to."
"Want you to? When has anyone ever wanted to be eaten?" Adam was aghast and looked back and forth between Xander and Conner, the former having gone back to the obscene gesturing to explain.
Conner and Adam blushed.
"Um, I'm not-" Adam began, "But it's okay if you are, I mean."
Xander smirked at Conner from the sidelines while Adam swallowed and tried to do something or another, certain human behaviors were really beyond Conner's understanding.
But he figured the human was trying to put a word to his sexuality, or something like that.
Most immortals didn't see the point with that. You love who you love, you fuck who you fuck and all that jazz- why humans always wanted to put a word to something like that he had no clue.
Conner explained his logic to the human and Adam nodded and downed the rest of the bottle in return.
"That's a nice way of thinking. My grandparents were really religious, I think they would roll in their graves if I were gay though."
"If they loved you it wouldn't matter. Family ain't your true family if they don't accept you for who you are. Gay, hetero, etc..." Conner stated and Xander handed the immortal a bottle of bloodwine from the small fridge under the bar.
This particular bottle was made from a... young woman, somewhere around twenty when it was bottled. The wine part was older, around a century.
Adam nodded, "Just wondering, but what do other races think of humans?"
Xander laughed, "Let's just say we find mortals amusing. Outside of that it varies upon the individual."
Adam's brows furrowed.
Conner clapped him on the back lightly, careful to not be to rough, "Personally, I think humans are fun. Interesting to look at and talk to. Your lives are so much simpler, yet so much more fulfilling than most of the immortals I've met. There so brief, and you all put so much meaning into them. You create purpose for yourselves and I envy that. Immortals simply look for ways to amuse themselves. We have nothing really driving us forward. Humans have the desire to better themselves- witches do too, but even they feel apathy keenly like one of us does occasionally. Humans, while they feel it sometimes, somehow manage to push through and do something with the short times they are given to live."
Adam looked surprised at his words, "You sound like you envy us."
Xander sighed, "Immortals are not the best to look to when it comes to finding meaning in life. Perhaps part of that comes from finding all meaning simple, maybe not easy to explain, but easy to comprehend."
Conner leaned back on the bar stool, "And don't you all have a concept of soul mates? Most immortals don't. Some types do, but most of us choose our mates if we have any at all. Most of the time it sets us up for inevitable pain. Family members who are full immortal outlast everyone they know who isn't up to par vitality wise."
Adam quirked a brow, "So neither of you have soulmarks? That sounds awful."
Conner shook his head with a teasing grin, but his tone was melancholy.
"You make the best of it." He looked back at Adam, "So what are your soulmarks? How does that all work?"
Adam shrugged, "Hell if I know. Mine isn't even a word- it's a symbol of some sort. Got weird looks as a kid because of it."
Conner smirked, "I'll show you my fangs if you show it to me."
Adam grinned back in response, "What are they? Retractable?"
Conner took a sip of his drink, "You'll just have to wait."
Adam slid off the stool and promptly fell on his ass on the wooden plank floors.
"Damn," He muttered, "Guess I drank more than I should've."
Conner bent down and lifted him off the floor like one would do a glass doll.
Adam narrowed his eyes on the immortal, "That didn't feel patronizing. No, not at all."
Conner grinned, "Chin up, buttercup. I'll help you home."
He winked just to make Adam blush again and choked on his drink, his lips stained a bloody red.
He licked his lips and waited for Adam to make the next move, but the mortal was slow on the uptake appearing fascinated by his small display. Conner clicked his tongue to knock him out of it.
"I know I'm a knockout and all, but..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." Adam unbuttoned his shirt and took off the button up to reveal a well-built upper body and a white wifebeater undershirt. Conner could faintly spot a gold symbol emblazoned into his chest, about an inch above his heart. He released his bottle back onto the bar and needled the undershirt down enough to decipher it.
Xander's breath caught.
"Is that?" The demon began and Conner nodded.
"It's how we originally wrote our names, quite a while before your own creation, Xander." The vampire remarked, his eyes slightly confused to the viewer while unrest stirred within his mind.
He knew that name, because it was most certainly his name. It was the sigil that he had once given his mortal lovers to invoke him with in his earlier years.
"So..." The mortal drawled, "Do you know whose name this is then?"
"Uh... how about those fangs now, huh?"
The human rolled his eyes with enough attitude to cut stone.
"Sure, why not?"
Conner grinned and revealed his canines to the human, "Watch carefully."
Adam nodded and suddenly the teeth appeared to sharpen into two slightly longer canines that he knew were deadly just by looking at them.
Conner chuckled, trying to push off his own oncoming anxiety attack. Adam failed to notice the vampire's discomfort but Xander did not.
"You know who his soulmarks belong to?"
Conner sighed, "Yes."
Xander let out a growl, "Well are you going to keep us waiting?"
His switch to english sounded almost as guttural as their native tongue but the mortal beside them noticed all the same- like Xander had well wanted him to.
Adam looked between the two of them and rolled his eyes and tried to stand up, nearly falling on his ass yet again.
Conner narrowed his eyes on Xander, "Mine, are you happy demon?"
Xander looked taken aback and glanced at the stumbling human whose grip was digging into his precious antique bar. His eyes narrowed at the infringement but relaxed again when the words resounded through his mind.
"What are you going to do?"
"What do you think? I'm getting him home and then I'll... I'll.... Hell, I don't know. I'll do something. He isn't even attracted to men!"
Adam was looking in between the two immortals, sighing when he went on ignored.
Xander snorted, "Did you see the way he was checking you out, let me assure you, he most certainly is attracted to men. Or at the very least you."
The comment was made along with a muttering under his breath of vampires and their irritating looks.
Well, someone was jealous.
Adam tried to step away from the bar but stumbled back and Conner instinctively steadied the human lightly (okay, maybe a bit too hard).
"Damn, there's that grip again."
Conner blushed, "Sorry."
Adam frowned, "We've already been through this."
Conner nodded and dropped a few of the Blackslate coins on the bar, which Xander quickly seized up with a flourish, calling out to the vampire as he escorted the human out of the pub, which was most certainly in a hole in the wall.
"Figure your shit out, Conner! Before it bites you in the-"
The door to the pub slammed shut and they walked into the street without looking back.
The roads were deserted, time having passed quicker than either of them could have guessed. Conner expected it- immortal hubs always had a way with fucking with time.
Adam was leaning on him for support, but it was awkward given the severe height difference. Conner sighed and they hobbled down the streets, Adam telling him the directions to the flat where he lived alone, having moved out of his family home fairly recently.
He pointed out certain landmarks along the way, talking about his own childhood as he went. Conner listened quietly, restless as hell. All he wanted was a good run, but he would not be getting that anytime soon. Well, at least not soon enough anyway.
He had a little too much energy to burn, at this point he could probably circumvent this earth a couple times before it fully burned off. He sighed once more.
"Am I boring you?" Adam asked and Conner sent him a wry grin.
"Nope. Just restless. I've never really been able to stick to a human pace when it comes to walking in my true body. Though I'm not one for walking in general."
Adam laughed, "What? Do you run everywhere you go?"
Conner nodded, "Kinda have to. Have to burn off the energy somehow. It's why I was wearing that glamour. It's one of the only ways I can actually relax."
Adam stared at him for a moment, "So you can't relax in your true form? That must suck."
Conner shrugged, "Trade-offs. I've been told that the excess energy makes me fun in bed."
He muttered the rest musingly, "Though it's a little difficult with my mortal lovers. When I was young, I managed to hurt one of them accidently. She forgave me, but uh... it made an impact on me."
Adam nodded, "So why don't I give you my address and you speed us over?"
Conner's eyes went wide with excitement, "That sounds fun. I'll still be going pretty slow, but it would be better than this at least. You might even have a little fun too."
Adam rolled his eyes, "I bet."
Conner moved in front of him and picked him up by his legs and slung him onto his back, Adam's hands falling to wrap around his neck.
"This is uh... wow you're tall. How tall are you? What? Seven feet?
Conner laughed, "I'm actually average sized for the Family. Juliet is my height and she wears heels too. She scares the hell out of mortals when she comes out without a glamour. To be honest, I think she does it to get a kick out of it. She's a little sadistic, but hey, we all have our vices."
"Close your eyes." Conner ordered and Adam obeyed.
Conner wrapped his hands around the man's legs to keep them secure and then took off. He arrived within a few seconds at the flat building, having got lost briefly without Adam's continuing instructions.
"Okay, open your eyes."
Adam opened them and Conner carefully dropped the mortal to his feet, steadying him when he stumbled. Pure shock was apparent in his face.
"Damn, you are fast." He blinked, "Didn't you say you would go slower?"
Conner rubbed the back of his neck, "I uh, did."
Adam turned his wide eyes on the vampire, "How fast are you exactly?"
Conner shrugged, "I've circumvented worlds a few times to take the edge off. I can usually do that within ten minutes."
Adam merely blinked for a few stunned moments.
"Aren't you going in? You'll probably need to sleep off your drinks."
Adam nodded, "You want to come up? I probably won't go to sleep in a while. I think you managed to wake me up pretty well."
Conner shrugged, "Sure. Sara's probably asleep now anyway."
He followed the human up the steps of the building then up two floors to the third floor door where his flat took up house. Adam unlocked it and entered, tossing his recruitment papers and new uniform on the dining table.
It was a large open space cordoned off by bookcases into separate rooms. The floors were dark hardwoods that matched the beams that held the ceiling in place, covered in some places by a few rugs. There was a small kitchen next to the small dining area for four people, leading into a cozy looking living area, small but nice with a small table with an open book on top, its pages bookmarked with dog eared folds. A small radio was on the third shelf of the bookcase in front of the couch, which Adam turned on as he passed the room absently.
A soothing jazz ballad rocked through the air easily.
Adam had thrown his button up on the wooden chair in the bedroom area, tossing the things in his wallet on the small bedside table before he came back out and waved Conner further into the flat.
"So... what do you do to occupy time?" Conner asked and Adam shrugged.
"I usually read or sketch a bit after work. What do you do?"
Conner shrugged in return, "Run, read, listen to music, go out and get lucky if I want. I get bored easily so I look for things to occupy my eternal existence with, its why I was signed up to fight. Or really how, because I uh, just stumbled into the recruitment office looking for something to do."
Adam gave him a dry look, "That seems reasonable."
Conner brightened, "I knew you'd understand."
Conner dropped his smile, "Do you have any food?"
His stomach growled to punctuate his hunger and Adam laughed.
"Check the cabinet."
Conner zoomed over to the cabinet and began his inspection which was brief to say the least. He pulled back with a pout.
He held out a small box, "Instant pudding? Is that all you eat because there is an inexcusable amount of it."
Adam laughed nervously and rubbed the back of his neck.
"Well..." Conner trailed, "I'm going to go look for a rapist to snack on because let's be honest, I don't have the patience right now to find something that's open, let alone cook something myself. And unless you're volunteering..."
Adam shook his head, "I'm not."
Conner grinned, "Are you sure? I've been told my bite is absolutely orgasmic."
Adam blushed and Conner's grin deepened.
Adam shook his head and Conner flitted away, accidently slamming the door a little too loudly. Adam for his part propelled himself onto the sofa and picked up the book to read while he waited for the vampire's return.
Conner was a little annoyed.
The rapist he had managed to track down mid-crime was screaming like a banshee. What does Garrett do to put a stop to this shit?
Conner snapped the bulky man's neck and flitted away a few miles into another deserted alley to feed.
Frankly, he was not in the mood to deal with the mess he made when he ripped into the dead man's throat, but he would certainly have to. He had forgotten how being out of practice could make things messy. Though to be honest, he only kept it clean when he wanted his prey to survive.
The man's blood tasted like watered down whiskey- probably a regular drunk then.
The woman he had left behind in the alley was still there when he got back, tears streaming down her face and he wondered why no one had come out to help her. He looked at his surroundings and realization hit him.
Shit like this probably happened often in this neighborhood.
Conner had tossed the rapist's body in a dumpster and lit it on fire in the alley where he had fed and he could still hear it in the distance even though humans would most certainly not hear it.
The woman screamed when she saw him.
"What? Do I have something on my face?"
He ran a hand over his face and quickly realized how he might have turned the woman hysterical. Blood was drying on his chin and jaw.
He wiped it with his sleeve.
"Hey, um Miss... Uh, that man's gone." His words didn't calm her and so he settled for knocking her out with a soft pinch. He found her identification and made short work of delivering her back to her doorstep, discomfort ricocheting through him in waves.
He never did figure out how to deal with people in hysterics.
Humans were strange and he could never figure out what caused that shit or what could make them come down from it all.
The woman would probably remember it all- but humans were quick to deny anything out of the ordinary and she'd be assumed crazed if she talked about him.
Ten minutes later found him back in the doorway to Adam's flat, opening the doorway shyly, before sliding the rest of the way in.
Adam didn't even look up from his book as he entered, "You good now?"
Conner bent over the kitchen sink and washed his face of the blood, scrubbing till his skin was an irritated pink that quickly faded back to its natural shade. He pulled off his bloody shirt and used it to pat dry his face, which felt scruffy from a bit of a beard coming in.
He should shave, but did he want to? Nope.
He walked back over to Adam, standing over the human without a sound for a minute until Adam looked up and jumped a bit in surprise.
The human blushed as he scanned him and Conner grinned, "I-"
"Do you need a shirt?"
Conner rolled his eyes, "Yes bu-"
Adam rolled off the couch and onto his feet and flitted away into the bedroom area to a set of drawers and tossed the immortal a stretchy wifebeater.
The vampire sighed, rolled his eyes again, but put it on nonetheless.
Adam came out just as Conner was attempting to stretch it past his belly button (unsuccessfully.). Adam looked him over and burst into laughter at the annoyed look on the vampire's face.
Conner groaned and pulled it off, "I'll just scrub my shirt in the sink, then. At least it'll fit even if it's wet. And blood red. But whatever. Sara can probably summon me up some clothing tomorrow."
Adam wiped a tear from his eye, "Sorry, I shouldn't have laughed."666Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡnyGgFnhZ62
Conner waved him off, "Feel free to laugh your ass off. I'm fairly entertaining."
Adam rolled his eyes and went back to reading while Conner scrubbed at his shirt in the sink with soap. He was grateful that it was a witch-made textile so it wouldn't rip if he was too harsh in his scrubbing.
After twenty minutes Conner let out a cry of victory and Adam looked up to see the vampire glowing with his victory and wearing a very much see-through white t-shirt stained slightly pink around the collar.
"How does that even still manage to fit you after you uh- well you know."
Conner grinned, "Witch-textiles, they shift to fit the wearer. They can even shift with shapeshifters. Pretty convenient if you ask me."
The radio fritzed a bit and a new song came on- this time a classical string ballad.
Conner plopped himself on the floor in front of the couch, his long legs crossed over one another at the knee as he leaned back on his elbows. Adam rolled his eyes.
"Pick a book or something, don't just stare."
"But you're so nice to stare at!" Conner whined and Adam blushed.
Conner smirked and placed his right hand over his forehead and did his best impression of Rose from Titanic, "Paint me like one of your french girls!"
Adam quirked a brow at him silently and Conner groaned.
"Fine. Sketch me like one of your french girls!"
Adam quirked his brow again, this time in confusion.
"Is that a reference?"
"Is that a reference? Only to an overplayed three-hour long cinematic tragedy!" Conner cried and then backed up suddenly, "Oh yeah, that doesn't come out till what? The nineties? Hell if I know. My bad. Sorry."
Adam smiled, almost smirkingly as he wrapped his arm to cushion his head as he laid out on the couch. Conner groaned and Adam sighed.
"Why don't you tell me about your lovers. I mean, you talked about one of them a while ago."
Conner leaned back and looked up at the ceiling.
"I guess, I mean most of them are either immortal or long since dead. Well, some of them have gone to ground." He sighed, "Do you want to hear about the men or the women?"
Conner blew out a breath, "Well, there was Mary and her twin brother Michael. Both of them were sleeping with me just at different times without the other one noticing. That was a weird time."
He laughed, "They came from a witch bloodline and it was odd because Michael could use his abilities as well as his sister. It's odd because male witch heirs tend to be just carriers for the power of their bloodline."
Conner looked up at the ceiling and fell flat on his back with his hands cushioning his head for support.
"Mary was beautiful in a approachable way. Her brother was stone cold with outsiders but took to liking me fairly quickly. I've always wondered why, but it's not like he could answer me now- he was hung during a witch trial with Mary. I had luckily managed to move their family, and their line is still going strong now I believe. Mary's granddaughter actually managed to make it to her transition and beyond that- she managed to survive."
He briefly looked at Adam, "Half of us don't survive our transitions. And that's true for almost all of the Family except for witches, who for the most part never manage to even reach their transition."
"I had a daughter." He stated, a wave of depression sweeping over him as he continued to speak, "She was everything to me- and that was quite rare for us immortals. Most of us raise our children as a community and not a single family unit. But her mother, a witch, convinced me to and, well, it was probably the best thing I've ever done."
Adam had released his book to look over at the immortal, silent as he allowed the vampire to continue.
Conner smiled softly, "Her name was Melody. She was beautiful and had her mother's eyes- a pretty soft lavender shade that sparkled when she was excited. She could make anyone happy just by smiling at them. She was so young, so fucking nice- she should've made it through it. She had been healthy- she had never had trouble when it came to her body, her health, or hell, any of the training we had all been put through when we were raised."
His smiled turned bitter, "She should have made it through. She should have made it through."
His repetition seemed to make his words sound even more disbelieving, even more pained as Adam listened to him.
Conner went silent for a moment, dropping the bitter grin for a quiet disbelief that still struck him thousands of years after the fact.
He turned to look over at the human who answered his stare with a look of sympathy.
But what could he know of the pain of losing a child. He might have lost his father from what he told Conner today- but that was not the same thing.
They say the worst thing a parent can go through is the death of a child before their own inevitable death.
Death would not return him to his daughter.
Immortality was a curse- one he was subject to till the end of existence.
As he looked at the mortal laid out on the couch he appeared to almost become near decisive. But his mind was not certain- as much as he wanted it to be
The mortal was mated to him and Conner was certain that if he wasn't careful he'd grow too attached to this mortal for his own good. He was not a sucker for pain like Evangeline was- but knowing himself, he could see himself slipping into this relationship, sinking deeper and deeper till he would certainly not be able to climb out of that hole.
It hadn't ever happened that badly before, but Conner could feel that this time would be different.
He was not looking forward to the end that awaited him when the mortal reached his inevitable own.
Conner sighed.ns 22.214.171.124da2